The U.S. Postal Service: Junk in, junk out

Evan Baehr and Will Davis are two bright young fellows with a bright idea: wouldn't it be great if people could receive their regular mail like email? You know, digitized, and delivered via the Internet?  That would allow us to enjoy all the great functions that email provides, including convenient storage and access. We could also filter out the junk mail.

And think of the savings on vehicles, gas and salaries! And the environmental benefits (trees saved! Carbon footprint reduced!)

So when Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe recently invited the two to D.C., they thought they were going to be welcomed with open arms. Instead the message was:  cease and desist.

Donahoe was unusually frank, telling the two they have it all wrong. The Post Office doesn't serve the American people, he said. The Post Office exists for the benefit of  “400 junk mailers.”

We the people's only purpose is to subsidize these companies by continuing to prop up an obsolete agency and technology. We did that in 2013 to the tune of $16 billion.

Apparently left unmentioned was the other constituency the Post Office exists to serve: the employees, or as we can call them, 580,000 sure-fire voters for bigger and more expensive government.

The Postal Service's Chief of Digital Strategy also participated in the meeting. Listen to what he, the “digital expert” had to say:  “[Your market model] will never work anyway. Digital is a fad. It will only work in Europe.”

Evan and Will called the meeting one of the most “surreal moments of their lives.”

That happens a lot when irresistible logic meets the unmoveable obstacle of governmental self-interest.